It is being reported today that the New York Jets had former Colts safety Bob Sanders in for a visit. Any time you have a former Defensive Player of the Year in the building at a position that needs improvement, it is going to generate some excitement.
However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Sanders has played nine regular season games in the past three years…yes, nine. The thought of signing Sanders to anything more than a heavily incentive based contract that has a base salary near the veterans minimum is insane. If Sanders was willing to play under those terms, it is worth a shot because the Jets currently only have one true safety under contract, Jim Leonhard, who is coming off season ending surgery.
Ever since Rex Ryan has taken over, the Jets haven’t had much production out of the safety position. Leonhard is a steady but unspectacular quarterback of the secondary who needs to be complimented by a playmaker.
The Jets will have decisions to make on Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, and James Ihedigbo this off-season. Smith and Ihedigbo are better suited as role players and special teams contributors. Pool came on strong at the end of last year but I am not sure you can rely on him to be the long term answer at the position.
Unfortunately, playmaking safeties aren’t easy to come by. The Jets could look at one with their first or third round pick in the upcoming draft but that would mean they are neglecting their defensive front seven.
It could very well be Pool or Smith alongside Leonhard again in 2011 and while I think Pool has more upside, Smith provides more all around value. It will be interesting to see who Mike Tannenbaum settles on bringing back, along with if they make room for Ihedigbo who is valuable in blitz packages.
Leonhard with his lone interception last year